While most people know about Alzheimer’s disease, many other illnesses impact the frontal region of the brain and cause severe impairment. This can quickly limit a person’s ability to hold a job and maintain a steady income.
Pick’s disease, though far less common than Alzheimer’s and less well-known impacts the lives of many individuals every year.
A rare frontotemporal disorder
Information on WebMD describes Pick’s disease as a form of dementia that affects parts of the brain that control personality, speech, behavior and motivation. About 50,000 to 60,000 people in the U.S. have this disorder. It typically begins to impact a person between the ages of 40 to 75, but some people begin to show signs as early as age 20.
Pick’s has a genetic component in about 25% of cases, but why other people come down with the disease remains a mystery. Pick’s disease attacks the brain’s transport system, resulting in malfunctions that prevent the delivery of essential nutrients. This results in a deterioration of the brain that medical science cannot yet reverse.
A cluster of serious symptoms
While Pick’s disease has many of the same symptoms as Alzheimer’s, many differences do exist. In general, Pick’s disease impacts patients at an earlier age. It also progresses more rapidly in most cases. Patients often show a complex mix of symptoms:
- Lack of interest in everyday activities
- Inability to feel a connection to family members and friends
- Say or do inappropriate things
- Fail to speak in a normal speech pattern
- Have problems with motor skills
Currently, no treatment exists for Pick’s disease. People can live as long as a decade with the disease, though they experience a reduced quality of life.